14-year-old Jared Marcum faces a year in jail after he was arrested by police in Logan County, West Virginia for refusing to remove a pro-Second Amendment t-shirt.
The incident began at Lincoln Middle School on April 18 when Marcum was asked by a teacher to remove the NRA shirt, which features the words “protect your right” above an image of a hunting rifle, or be suspended, despite the fact that the shirt did not violate the school’s dress code which bars images featuring “profanity, violence, discriminatory messages or sexually suggestive phrases.”
After Marcum refused to take off the shirt, calmly attempting to explain to school administrators that he was exercising his first amendment right, cops were called solely, “Because I would not take this shirt off, because I believe that I should have a right to wear this,” according to Marcum.
When Marcum refused to be silent, he was arrested and charged with “disturbing the education process” and obstruction of a police officer. On Friday, Judge Eric O’Brien bizarrely sided with police and allowed the prosecution to proceed with the case.
Police initially claimed Marcum made “terroristic threats” for daring to exercise his first amendment, but later backed down from that charge.
Both police and prosecuting attorney Michael White refused to speak to the media about the case. Marcum faces a year in jail when he returns to court on July 11, unless his attorney can get the charges dropped in the meantime.
“Every aspect of this is just totally wrong,” said Marcum’s step father Allen Lardieri, pointing out that Marcum doesn’t have a criminal background.
“Me — I’m more of a fighter, and so is Jared. And eventually we’re going to get through this,” he added. “I don’t think it should have ever gotten this far.”
The case has garnered national attention as it underscores how both authorities and the education system treat the first and second amendments as nuisances to be frowned upon and discouraged.
Since the Sandy Hook shootings last year, there have been innumerable instances where schools have reacted with outright panic and hysteria to toy guns, objects shaped like guns or even the mere discussion of guns by students.
Back in February, another 14-year-old boy was asked by administrators at Genoa-Kingston Middle School to remove a t-shirt which featured the word “Marines” above an image of two interlocking rifles.